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Academic wins international award for work on ecological sustainability

23rd May 2022

A researcher at Northumbria University is part of a group of academics to win a prestigious international award for their work on sustainable science.

Dr Mark Goddard, an urban ecologist interested in biodiversity conservation and the provision of ecosystem services in cities, is a co-recipient of the Sustainability Science Award from the Ecological Society of America.

The annual awards, which will be presented at a ceremony in Montréal in August, recognise outstanding contributions to ecology, and the Sustainability Science Award acknowledges Dr Goddard and his co-authors as having made the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences.

Their paper, Biodiversity in the city: key challenges for urban green space management, was said by judges to synthesise “the key challenges to sustaining biodiversity in urban systems”, while incorporating “ecological and sociological principles to overcome those challenges”.

The 9,000-strong Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world's largest community of professional ecologists and is a trusted source of ecological knowledge, advancing our understanding of life on Earth.  

Speaking of the paper, judges said: “The article has already had an impact on sustainability science, evidenced by its broad citation across diverse academic disciplines, including ecology, sustainability, and planning journals, as well as in city and regional planning documents and teaching curriculum.”

Caption: Dr Mark Goddard.Dr Goddard, whose co-authors were Myla Aronson, Christopher Lepczyk, Karl Evans, Susannah Lerman, J. Scott MacIvor, Charles Nilon, and Timothy Vargo, added: “We’re very proud to have received this accolade, which demonstrates the international impact of academic research carried out by my colleagues in this important field.

“Our work underlines the vital importance of enhancing biodiversity within urban environments for the benefit of everyone living and working within them, as well as for the future of our planet.”

Dr Goddard works within Northumbria’s Geography and Environmental Sciences department which was ranked second in the UK for its research power in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, with 90 per cent of its research rated as either world-leading or internationally excellent.

Northumbria as a whole recorded the biggest rise in research power ranking of any UK university for the second time. Find out more about some of the world-leading research it is undertaking in all aspects of ecology.

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